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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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2010.MM.DD - Seattle Weekly - Reverb (Duff's column)

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2010.MM.DD - Seattle Weekly - Reverb (Duff's column) Empty Re: 2010.MM.DD - Seattle Weekly - Reverb (Duff's column)

Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:56 am

New Year, New Dog, New Furniture

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jan. 7 2010


​For the last 10 years, my wife and I have dreamed and schemed and saved to remodel our 83 year-old Germanic Tudor house in Seattle. While yes, I did buy this house back in 1994 before I had a real prospect of a wife and kids, my hope was in fact that one day it would happen. It did.

The house was a fine size when both the girls were tiny, but as they grew, the walls just seemed to get a little closer and the ceilings not quite as high as I once thought. My first thought and hope was to put a new master bedroom where our massive attic is, extending the staircase up a floor and adding a master bathroom and huge windows to an even bigger view that we'd now have.

After shopping around, we found a great architect who instantly saw our vision and enhanced our dream with structural ideas that we neophytes had no idea could exist. Our next step was city permits and getting bids from able contractors, which went along smoothly until we saw how much it would cost just for the structural support we would have to fortify from the foundation of the house. As they say in this business, it was cost-prohibitive. Yeah, expensive like nobody's business, in fact. The structural engineer barked out a price something like $450K. I drooped in my chair; my contractor saw that he was losing a client; and my architect apologized profusely. Four hundred and fifty thousand dollars before I was to add even one square foot?! A third-floor master was now definitely out of the question.

My contractor called me a few days after we had met with the structural engineer and got the bad news. He told us that he had an idea of just simply raising our ceilings, updating our second floor, and moving a few doorways. All this, he claimed, would really make things feel a lot bigger and roomier. We could put in new carpet and refinish our beautiful and original hardwood floors and walnut doors and trim. We could paint the house and restore some of the original ornate light sconces that had been just sitting in the basement, update our heating system, and even add air conditioning (our house gets sun all day in the summer). The price was right, and I knew from what I had seen of some of his other jobs that this contractor could work miracles on old Tudors. I agreed . . . let's move ahead!

For you who may read my column, you will certainly know that we McKagans have a little dog named Buckley. He is a great young lad, but as all dog owners do, we went through the hell of house-training a puppy. Buckley really didn't get the message for an exorbitantly long time. Finally he got it, and we can take him with us without having to worry that our little buddy will do his business in the house or hotel room.

Santa Claus brought our dog Buckley three years ago when our oldest daughter turned 9. Our younger daughter therefore has been pining for a dog of her own when she turned 9. Her logic was sound, and I am after all a sucker for my girls. She wanted a pug puppy, and last fall my wife and I started searching for a puppy that would be the perfect age at Christmastime. No small feat for a person who travels for a living. Checking out different litters of pugs from breeders in the Northwest while trying to tour is a royal pain in the ass! Ah, the things we do for our kids. But, back to the house.

The work began on our second floor this past fall, and would be done by December 15, in time for us to come back to Seattle for Christmas. We came up a few times while the work was getting done; my wife picked out great carpeting and floor-stain colors, and we placed all the new wall-sconce lighting. The quality of work was second to none, and when we arrived for Christmas break, the house looked like a damn Four Seasons.

Stunning and pristine, all the wood and door hardware and light fixtures were buffed and shined. My daughters were elated over their new bedrooms. For the first time in our lives, they even started making their beds every morning and picking up their clothes off the floors without us telling them to do it. Buckley is of course housetrained, so we didn't have to worry about him. Wow, maybe we could have a house and lifestyle like you see in movies or Esquire magazine, where everything is perfect and clean, no one's hair is messy, and no one leaves their underwear on the floor or a dirty dish on the countertop. The house even smelled amazing!

The next step was to finally get some new furniture. The stuff we have has been worn hard and totally used and abused after 12 years with kids and a dog. Anyone who has kids knows it's a fool's dream to get new furniture when you have small children. Macaroni and cheese mixed with carpet and grape juice is a stain that will not come out, trust me.

Now that the house is clean and new ... we found a girl pug puppy a ferry-ride away that would be the perfect age by Christmas. Susan and I checked her out during Thanksgiving, and I made plans with the breeder to pick up the dog on Christmas Eve. My oldest brother kept the puppy for us on Christmas Eve night, and I picked her up early Christmas morning so that it would appear that Santa brought the pup (I did all this BEFORE the girls woke up). All of this went off without a hitch.

We have a rough idea of how to house-train a puppy from the Buckley debacle. But he is a mellow dog from a breed bred to be foot-warmers for the elite back in the 1600s. They were trained to just sort of sit around. Pugs, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. And we were all so excited to have a new dog that we sort of forgot that little puppies have to go to the bathroom ALL THE TIME and anywhere they please! Puppies are sneaky and quick, and little human girls will hide the fact that a new puppy pooped on the brand-new carpet in their room on numerous occasions because they don't want Pup to get in trouble or not be able sleep in their room. Little human girls will do anything so that the new dog can hang out in their rooms or on the couch with them for as long as possible. When a new dog pees in the house, the old dog will urinate right on top of it to mark its territory.

We just remodeled. We just started living in a clean house with potty-trained residents. And we go ahead bring home a baby pug. I guess the new furniture can wait.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100109093549/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/01/new_year_new_dog_new_furniture.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:59 am

The Wheels on My Bike ...

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jan. 14 2010



​A couple of years ago, I became the proud owner of a black 2006 Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycle. And why not? I am sober and of relatively good faculties and judgment. A lot of my good friends ride motorcycles, and I would sometimes feel left out. No, the time was definitely perfect for me to start my life as a motorcycle enthusiast.

The man who has produced everything Loaded has ever done is Martin Feveyear. Jupiter, his studio here in Seattle, lies in the heart of Wallingford, and in summer the area becomes a veritable crossroads for bikers going to and from anywhere else in Seattle. In 2001, I made the first Loaded record with Martin, and he would lay out photos of a bike, still in pieces, that he was putting together. The story goes that this same bike had been in Martin's family from the day he was born in the south of England. It was a 1951 Sunbeam SX, and his family's lone mode of transportation!

Some of Martin's first memories are of him and his sister riding in a sidecar attached to the old Sunbeam with his mom and dad on the bike. For family vacations, they would hook a trailer to the back, sometimes stopping to push the whole contraption up long hills in the English countryside. That bike just didn't have the horsepower for a family of four, a sidecar, AND a trailer.

By 2001, Martin's dad had shipped the whole bike in pieces to Martin, who was going to do his best to fix the broken bits and put it all back in working order. I only say that Martin was going to do his best, because while he is exceedingly proficient in the studio, a mechanic he is not. By trial and many errors, though, Martin did eventually succeed in getting the 'Beam back in tip-top shape, and to this day that bike gets him around town probably 60 percent of the time. He even took his 6-year-old daughter back to England this year and put her in the sidecar of a vintage Sunbeam, and together they toured the country. Pretty cool.

My point to the Martin story is that I watched all this go down, and started to query myself why I wasn't riding. That is when I got my bike. Sure, I had ridden motorcycles before, but was in no way an expert. During my late teens and 20s, I would say that it was a GREAT and GENIUS thing that I did NOT have a motorcycle. That would have been an accident waiting to happen. Besides, you can't drink a cocktail or all those other bad things while shifting gears on a bike. The one time I did get on a bike during this era was when I got on a cop's bike during a GN'R video shoot ("Don't Cry," I think). The poor cop was just working the shoot, and he let me take his bike for a spin. I crashed it...

It wasn't just Martin who inspired me. A lot of my friends in Seattle would get their bikes out of the garage and fire them up and gallivant around town, while I was seemingly missing out on all the fun (FYI, spring in Seattle is anytime it gets over 40 degrees and it's not raining).

A year and a half ago, my band Velvet Revolver did a summer co-headlining tour with Alice in Chains, whose drummer, Sean Kinney, is one of those Seattle bike friends I'm talking about. Over the past several years we have become good friends, and this tour gave us a chance to hang out a lot together. He and I and his drum tech, Tavis LeMay, all decided to bring our motorcycles on that tour, and I got to ride around a ton of beautiful parts of the U.S.

It's funny how places where usually you would just sit around backstage all day could suddenly transform because of access via two wheels with friends. Riding in a state park in Alabama instead of listening to drums getting tuned all day over a PA system is a good thing indeed. On days off, we would ride around in whatever city we were in and go to dinner or whatever else. It staved off the loneliness of being apart from my family while opening up a great new view of places I had been before but never really seen.

I found a great deal on a sleeker and faster bike down here in Los Angeles last year. L.A. is no doubt a much more dangerous place to ride, because people in cars down here are reckless drivers in a big way. I got a call yesterday that my friend Gilby Clarke (a former GN'R guitarist) got in a bad motorcycle accident when a truck pulled out and took a left in front of him. When I went to see him in the hospital on Monday night, Gilby further told me that the guy in the truck just took off, leaving the scene of the accident. My friend "Biker" Tim (whom I have written about in previous columns), also got in a bike accident recently. Maybe I will sell this bike down here after all.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100124001433/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/01/the_wheels_on_my_bike.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:00 am

Taking Iraq War Vets to the Summit

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jan. 21 2010


​In the past, I have written a few times about some of the adventures I have been able to experience because of my friend Tim Medvetz. For those of you who don't know him from the Discovery Channel series Everest Beyond the Limit that aired a couple of years ago, he was not only a team member of that Mt. Everest expedition, he also summited the mountain in 2007--an amazing feat for anyone, and for this man in some respects even more so.

I met Tim a few years ago through a mutual best friend, Richard Stark, and it immediately became evident that we shared the same sense of adventure and humor. Tim was fresh from summiting Everest, and I was full of questions for him that night (mixing humor and wanderlust from me may come in the form of "Everest, huh? Cool! Was it high?" Stupid for sure, but Tim dug my line of questions/humor . . . I think).

Later that summer, Tim and Richard rode their Harleys through Seattle and stayed with the family McKagan (our house is now dubbed "Northwest headquarters" because, well, with Richard and Tim, what is mine is theirs and likewise). This prolonged hangout gave Tim and me more time to work on our comedic duo routine, and it gave me time to learn a bit more about Tim.

You see, Tim and Richard were to be taking a ferry from Bellingham up to Alaska, where they would continue their bike trip across Canada and down to New York. It turns out that when this ferry gets to Alaska, one must drive through a slice of Canada to get back into Alaska again. Well, this is when I found out Tim used to be a member of a very famous outlaw bike gang . . . er, club. Canada doesn't allow those kind, apparently, and Tim and Richard found themselves face-down with guns drawn on them at that border, and eventually back on that same three-day ferryride, southbound, back to the Northwest headquarters.

His story since 2001 is pretty unbelievable.

In September 2001, Tim got hit by a car while riding his motorcycle down here in L.A. He suffered tremendous head, back, and leg injuries. He woke up in the hospital only to see a bunch of nurses and doctors gathered around the TV set in his room. As his vision started to clear, he became cognizant of the images of a Trade Center building in NYC falling to the ground. He faced that same despair we all felt, and on top of that, the doctors said they would have to amputate a foot, put a steel plate in his head, and put a steel-mesh cage around his lower spine.

After being threatened with grievous bodily harm, the doctors found a way to save Tim's foot, but only just. His ankle is fused permanently. Doctors told him that his physical activities would forever be limited to a couch, basically. Ah, but Tim was reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer while he was in that hospital bed, and vowed then and there to climb Mt. Everest.

After being discharged, Tim went to Brazil to study jiujitsu with the Grace family for two years, AND became a certified dive instructor and skydiver. I think he did some time in a Brazilian prison too . . . just for kicks.

After his stint in Brazil, he came back to NYC to run the door at the world famous Hogs and Heifers bar before departing to Nepal to learn the ropes of high-altitude climbing. He also spent six months in veritable silence in a monastery there. Silence is not Tim's strong suit. His time in Nepal was followed by a year in Thailand at a live-in kickboxing school. It was now time for him to somehow get up Everest.

Tim joined a team that was going to attempt Mt. Everest in 2006, and maybe this incredible story should be left to another stand-alone column. Suffice it to say nothing comes easy to Tim, and his journey through India to get to Katmandu was filled with scrapes and triumphs. When he did finally get on the team, it turned out that The Discovery Channel happened to be filming this expedition. Tim eventually garnered worldwide fandom as the most intense and nonconforming member of that team. In 2007, he finally realized his hospital-bed dream and summited Mt. Everest.

Over the course of the following year, 2008, Tim, Richard, and I got together more and more often as friends who shared an interest in things like the outdoors, sports, and music. But most important, we all seem to share a sense of family, brotherhood, and honor, things that seem at times to be missing too often in this hyper-fast information age.

Eventually, Tim invited me on a training hike or two. It was on these hikes, and the times that Tim would come to visit my family, that I began to understand the true character that this man has somehow contained under that flesh. Tim got me up my very first winter summit last year, and without him being there, it would have been only a fraction of the fun. Honestly, I probably would not have made it to the top of that mountain without his humor-filled chiding and hard-won expertise.

I found out on these hikes another thing about Tim: He has another much grander and more selfless dream. After seeing a TV special on U.S. soldiers who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tim was inspired to get up and at least try to help. Remember, Tim was told that he would be an invalid himself. He knew what these kids were facing emotionally when they finally got back home to their mom's couch in Minnesota or wherever, limbless and aimless and suffering myriad emotional difficulties.

Tim has now started a foundation where he himself will attempt all the world's seven highest summits WITH a wounded veteran along for the climb. We are talking about single and double-leg amputees--young men who want to overcome for themselves and carry the message home to their fallen brethren. A message of hope and inspiration, if nothing else.

Over this last year, I have ridden along with Tim on the ups and downs and highs and lows of trying and finally succeeding in getting his "Heroes Project" up and running. Last week he came over to the house with a hand-shot DVD of his first two "Seven Summit" attempts with wounded U.S. veterans of the Iraq War. I was stunned by what I saw. I am proud of my friend.

Tim is a man who, through his own battles with injuries that could have set him back forever on a couch in a fit of despair and depression, really knows what these wounded warriors are up against. He does this not for glory for himself, but indeed, as I have gotten to really know Tim, for the betterment of mankind as a whole.

See for yourself at theheroesproject.org.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100124001028/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/01/taking_iraq_war_vets_to_the_su.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:06 am

The Future: Hawks, Rock, and a McKagan/Novoselic Ticket In 2012

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jan. 28 2010


Sometimes I just can't find that one defining thing to write about. It is often at this point, when I can't focus, that I realize that a bunch of stuff is all going on at once. For instance:

Music: "I think records were just a little bubble in time, and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from making records, except that everything was right for this period of time. I always knew that it would run out sooner or later. It couldn't last, and now it's running out. I don't particularly care that it is,` and like the way that it is going."
-- Brian Eno

I think what Eno is trying to get across here is that corporate music America got too fat and greedy, and pushed true art aside for the next big thing that would sell more copies rather than be an important and brave musical adventure. Oh, sure, Ticketmaster and Live Nation just completed a big merger this week (President Obama? Antitrust? Anyone?), but the major labels are in their death-rattle stage.

It is an exciting time for forward-thinking people to launch something new and righteous for their artists and highly accessible for the listeners. Good art will again prevail, because live shows will be what generate the income. Good art attracts large crowds. Large crowds buy more shirts. A band or artist can print their own shirts. Good art can be made available through online digital portals on the artist's terms. Vinyl is becoming very popular again. Good art can indeed support itself and flourish financially. That is good business. Fuck the major labels. Go support live music TODAY!

Football: Yes, I am a huge Seahawks fan, and knew in Week 4 or so that we didn't stand a chance in hell this season. It is at this point in a season that I try to find another team to sort of secretly pull for, a team that may have a chance of going to the playoffs and whose story I like.

This season, my auxiliary team was the Minnesota Vikings. I've liked Steve Hutchinson since he was here in Seattle, and, to be honest, me and every other 40-something male in America pulled for Brett Favre this year. We rooted for Favre because he is the last hope for guys like me. There is still a glimmer of hope that yes, I, Duff McKagan, could "suit up" for the NFL and hear the crowd absolutely roar as I cross the goal line after receiving an 80-yard slant-pass from some QB half my age, winning the Super Bowl for my beloved Seattle Seahawks and the 12th Man!

I cringed last Sunday as Favre took repeated punishment and the Vikings' hopes slipped out of Adrian Peterson's slippery hands. The Saints have a great story too this year, and so I suppose I will pull for them in the Super Bowl . . . I just hope that Favre comes back for another year. I don't want my football-watching couch to be a vantage point for watching dudes in their 20s next year. Unless of course it is watching all the genius draft picks that Pete Carroll gets, taking us all the way to the Super Bowl (or at least a winning season?). Until then, let's go, Mariners!

Side note: Before I get a whole rash of "old age" comments from you readers, the 40s ARE the new 20s, so suck it.

Obama: Well, here we go. According to almost every news channel and poll out there, America is getting somewhat disheartened with our Prez. I suppose I see some of the logic here. President Obama hasn't really taken a hard stance on ANYTHING to this point in office, and we were all expecting some sort of hard line on, at least, health-care reform or über-transparency with the stimulus package. No. The Health Care Reform bill has been nothing but watered down since its first appearance last August (kowtowing to the Republicans when the Democrats had the majority vote all along. I still don't get that move. Too late now, though--Republican Scott Brown, of course, just won to fill the slot left vacant by Senator Ted Kennedy). A Republican winning a Senate seat in old-school Democratland Massachusetts does not bode well for Obama's party and popularity.

President Obama has shown this week that finance guru Tim Geithner may be falling out of his good graces. I am not sure who is to blame for the blunder, reported this week, about the "stimulus signs" that are appearing on our nation's highways. Apparently, with the money used to make these signs that PROMOTE the stimulus money creating jobs, we could have created hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of jobs actually FIXING the roadways. I hate this crap.

Hey, I haven't forgotten all the praise I have written here about Obama, and I still back him 100 percent. Our Republican right just seems a little dangerous and creepy right now. Maybe fellow Reverb columnist Krist Novoselic and I should run for office in 2012? We'd be kick-ass, and we could rock, too. I think this country needs tax incentives for business and lower taxes for citizens AND sweeping social programs. Let me work on that.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100131145616/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/01/the_future_hawks_rock_and_a_mc.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:10 am

Krist Novoselic responds to Duff's article above:
Duff, We Don't Need More Politicians, We Need the Rock Party

By Krist Novoselic
Tuesday, Feb. 2 2010


​Dear Duff:

Thanks for including me on your political ticket. I like the idea of a McKagan /Novoselic candidacy--but I must respectfully decline. I don't believe we need more politicians--we need more people to become personally invested in the political process.

The ticket you propose would have a lot of name recognition. And that works in politics, but the hard part is actually changing things. Mentioning change is cheap talk anymore. Voters are constantly electing these supposed "agents of change" who, as lawmakers, manage only to fit as cogs in the political machines that actually run things.

Celebrity change-agents haven't done any better. In the 2003 California recall election, Arnold Schwarzenegger resurrected lines from his action films as part of his campaign. It was a perfect fit, and the strongman image played to a throng of voters wild to tear down a sitting governor.

Schwarzenegger got into office with people expecting that this outsider would somehow fix Sacramento. But that didn't happen. The Governator instead got swept up in insider politics, and now the state is in far worse financial shape than it was when he took over--and possibly worse than it's ever been.

Schwarzenegger's failure to change--or even fix--Sacramento should come as no surprise. After all, he ran as a Republican. That party--along with Democrats--have their own constituencies to cater to. And I'm not talking about voters in legislative districts. I mean the interests who work the halls of power. They're the ones who stick around after the confetti and balloons from election-night parties are swept off the floor. Voters thought the Terminator would take care of everything by himself--just as he did in Kindergarten Cop. People invested their hopes in Schwarzenegger, but they didn't take it much farther than that. But this always happens, with presidents, governors, or any other kind of lawmaker. Voters only wait until the next election to choose between the Republican and Democratic candidate--again--while in the meantime, those interests I've mentioned work the system. And fickle California voters have done enough damage themselves to the state through the initiative process, so I can't be too hard on Governor Schwarzenegger.

Duff, I beat the drum of political association regularly. We're both bass players, so let's say it's the thump of a kick drum. Perhaps this season of discontent is not calling for a McKagan / Novoselic ticket as much as for a new political party: The Rock Party. The idea is to get people invested in their own power through working with like-minded others. Here's how a Rock Party could work:

First, we'd need some precepts for our group. This would be an unalterable aspect of what we'd do. I propose something like promoting civic virtue and individual opportunity. Civic virtue is at the heart of the ideals espoused by our nation's founders. It's about liberty and inalienable rights, while at the same time working within your community to make lives better. And individual opportunity is about the American dream: Work hard enough and you can be successful. This can be discussed at length--the idea is to have a philosophical foundation to our group, and I'd like to hear your ideas.

Another cornerstone: The Rock Party would not take any outside political contributions. The party would only receive funds from members, which is appropriate for an organization that's member-driven. Small-scale political contributions are revolutionizing campaign financing. The numbers can add up quick with online contributions.

Then there's the organization's structure. The party is to be financed exclusively through regular membership dues. It would cost $5 a month to belong. And what are the benefits of membership? Members vote on nominees for the public ballot. Members also vote for party officials. Members will develop and ratify a yearly party platform. This would all be done through the Rock Party Web site--which will also offer free music downloads to members. (That alone will bring all kinds of people in!)

At this point, we don't need to get into too many details, like what kind of stance the party will take on issues. That will sort itself out during the platform process. Party politics can be messy and things will have to shake out with the platform, but I'm sure it will be a healthy debate as long as our precepts are honored. We'd start with local and state elections and work our way from there.

Duff, I'd nominate you as party Chair, and we'll see who other members nominate. But I can't get going on it for a while--it's a super-early spring out here in Deep River, with plenty of seasonal chores on the homestead. Considering some of the things I've just written, I'm not ready to bail on Obama either. And Democrats? President Obama has his own party / organization - so people can line up where they need to. The plan I propose above should be universal, and maybe those who see any value will run with it?

If we eventually pull this off, let's have an enduring organization that's part of building the future. Remember--VOTE ROCK PARTY!
https://web.archive.org/web/20100205161118/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/duff_we_dont_need_more_politic.php

And Duff's response:
Yes to the Rock Party!

By Duff McKagan
Wednesday, Feb. 3 2010


​Just to briefly respond to Mr. Novoselic's fine column this week: I think a Rock Party or some sort of political alliance that is community-based and not allowed to raise dough outside of itself is a great and brave idea. Too often these days, we are promised "transparency" or "change" in government, only to find these slogans as nothing more than marketing tools for an election.

Lobbying, too, is a practice that leaves the common man on the roadside somewhere, scratching his head in bewilderment with no bandages for the accrued road rash. Did anyone catch the moment last July when the Health Care Reform Bill was left at the door of the Senate right before their summer vacation?

First off, we were led to believe that the HCRB was being rushed there so quickly so that we all could feel the benefits of universal health care that much faster. IN REALITY, however, the Senate vacation has become the perfect yearly time for assorted lobbyists to come in and bid for their wares with our government.

Then last summer, the Senate went on "vacation" and millions of dollars in lobby money from private health-insurance and related private heath-industry interests flooded into Washington, D.C. Universal health care doesn't stand a chance against greedy politicians with a vote in the game. This Health Care Reform Bill never stood a chance. I'm still not sure if it was supposed to. At 1,260 pages, who was going to really digest this thing?

But in truth, I WAS only joking about the McKagan/Novoselic ticket. Did no one pick up on the tongue-and-cheekness when I stated that I'd "want to not raise taxes, raise tax incentives for business, AND induce major reform with social programs"?

But, Krist, I accept your nomination!!!
https://web.archive.org/web/20100210035008/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/yes_to_the_rock_party.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:14 am

Duff McKagan: Underground Is the New Mainstream

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Feb. 4 2010


​Somebody asked me last week if I could open up for discussion the difference between "mainstream" success for a band or artist, and "underground" success. So here goes:

Back when I was a lad and punk rock was all the rage, the movement itself was self-supporting and eventually made its way to college FM radio, which was then a new and burgeoning way of spreading musical ideas.

In the early '80s, bands like R.E.M. and U2 were gaining speed on college radio as underground successes. They were selling records for their indie labels, and selling out shows on college campuses around the world. Of course, when you put the word "success" or "sales" up against a marketplace, nothing can really sustain its core underground-ness.

Major labels tried to capitalize on the success of the underground dollar by creating imprint indie labels. That is to say, the same major-label muscle with a new street cred name (GN'R's label, Geffen, created DGC sometime in 1986 or '87 just for this purpose. The Muffs or the Waterboys on Geffen Records would seem like a sellout to their fan base, but DGC? Well, that was fine!).

Mainstream success is basically the same deal. Artists and bands sometimes, and more commonly, want to be a mainstream success. This is where the possibility of the major dough can roll in, especially if one is unabashed by what commerce looks like to their public. Someone like Beyonce actually uses her fan base to sell perfume, clothes, makeup, and anything else. It's not a bad thing, either. She doesn't let her music suffer as a result, and can get away with it (a female audience like hers LIKES all these extras). Jay-Z, on the other hand, while achieving mainstream superstardom, stays far away from being perceived as selling out. Jay-Z WAS once a fairly underground rapper from Brooklyn. It seems that he wants at least a part of his art to still be perceived as underground and edgy.

Silversun Pickups and MGMT have an image of being underground, but both are on major labels, sell tons of records, and were up for major Grammy categories. "Alternative music" used to actually mean something. College radio WAS the alternative to, well, everything else. "Alternative" is now just another selling-tool catchphrase (kind of like "change" in politics!).

I still think that there are stalwarts in our industry who blend a good bit of mainstream and independence. Foo Fighters kind of do what they want, right? Nine Inch Nails for sure do. Alice in Chains paid for this latest record themselves, and licensed it out to a major label, enjoying the marketing that only a major label can afford.

Underground success, though, will soon be redefined, and, I am sure, become more of an indicator of overall success. Major labels are dying because of their shortsightedness, brought on when they introduced a digital format just to sell the catalogs of certain acts all over again. Little did they know in 1989 that every home would have a computer some five short years later. When Napster tried to make a deal with the majors on revenue-sharing through advertising on that site at the time (hundreds of millions of dollars in 1997), the majors buried their head in the sand and continued their lawsuit with Napster. Napster lost, and the floodgates of free content to everyone have never stopped, and never will. Artists are the smartest people when their backs are against a wall. Free music will serve as the new loss leader to bands trying to attract a larger audience.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100209033137/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/duff_mckagan_underground_is_th.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:19 am

All Apologies

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Feb. 11 2010


I was in a recording studio the other day and had some time to kill. If I am not reading a book or writing, I will often scavenge around for a newspaper or magazine. On this day, I came across Cobain, a tribute put out by Rolling Stone some months after Kurt's death in 1994.

I can't really pinpoint the reasons, but suddenly there in that dingy studio, I was enthralled and emotional. I read this book from beginning to end, and while of course I remember this time well, I don't think the scope of the sadness came to me until this moment. A profound sadness that stirred up a lot of emotion that maybe I haven't dealt with yet. I don't know, to be honest.

I was on the same plane as Kurt on that flight up from Los Angeles a couple of days before his death. We were both fucked-up. We talked, but not in depth. I was in my hell, and he in his, and this we both seemed to understand.

When we arrived in Seattle and went to baggage claim, the thought crossed my mind to invite him over to my house then and there. I had a real sense that he was lonely and alone that night. I felt the same way. There was a mad rush of people there in public. I was in a big rock band, and he was in a big rock band. We were standing next to each other. Lots of people stopped to gawk. I lost my train of thought for a minute, and Kurt said good-bye and left to his waiting town car. His new house was right down the street from my new house. I received a call from my manager two days later that Kurt had died.

I suppose I was numb to this sort of thing at this point in my life. I had lost two of my best friends to drug overdoses. People in my own band had overdosed multiple times. My life and addiction were spinning out of control, and my body was failing in so many different ways. It is possible that I was incapable of feeling sadness, incapable of picking up the phone and calling Krist or Dave. In truth, I had such low self-esteem at that point, that I am sure I felt my call would have no impact on these fine men.

I had been really excited back in 1991 or so, when bands from my hometown of Seattle started to rise up and get recognized for magnificent music. I was proud because I knew the scene there was truly unique and self-supporting and open to new and different ideas.

A few years later, at the MTV Awards where my band and Nirvana both performed, I blew my lid when I perceived a slander toward my band from the Nirvana camp. In my drunken haze and drug-induced mania, I heard what I wanted to hear, and I went after Krist Novoselic backstage. I had no control of myself then. And Krist, I am sorry for that day.

Krist, my colleague and friend, I am so sorry for your loss, too. I am sorry I could not be your friend back then. We had so, so many things in common. We have so many things in common today.

I am sorry that I didn't have the faculties to just come up and talk to you at the MTV Awards in 1992. I was mad and insane then. My scope of dealing with any sort of conflict had narrowed down to barroom brawling. Kim "Fastback" Warnick, my mentor, called me the day after my embarrassment and scolded me for it. I felt so low. I simply did not know how to call you and apologize then. My dream of being in a band that everyone in the world believed in had come to life. The complications that came with that dream were also making themselves present. You were dealing with the same things I was. We could have had a lot to talk about together.

I am glad that you have overcome that mad season in your life. It takes a strong man to have that sort of devastation not permanently handicap you. Your band should have been one of those that kept setting new benchmarks for what a rock band is. Your career and vision was cut short. We musicians just don't talk about this kind of stuff, thinking maybe it's a little too touchy-feely. We are expected to just get over it. Why, don't we have piles of money to make ourselves feel better with? If only people knew.

I am not trying to embarrass you, Krist. Maybe I am only trying just now to come to grips and exorcise some of my own hidden monsters. I am glad that we are now friends and I hope that this part of the story will last a lifetime.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100215092008/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/all_apologies.php

Krist Novoselic's response to Duff:
Krist Novoselic: Kurt Cobain, Alexander McQueen, and Making Sense of It All

By Krist Novoselic
Friday, Feb. 12 2010


Dear Duff,

No worries on the MTV music awards. There were all kinds of shenanigans going on. And I've been drunk and irresponsible myself too many times. That self-destructiveness can lurk in the shadows - lubricated by one substance or another.

I read your column and it brought up a lot of feelings for me and if we do look back, let's not forget the positive. I remember the time later in the 1990's when we crossed paths again at the Showbox. I said it was good to see you, and it was.

Moments after I read your column about Kurt, I read the news about Alexander McQueen and his shocking suicide. On top of that, there was another news report that the authorities found out who stole the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the Auschwitz death camp. I stepped out to get some air and all this came together.

Kurt Cobain and Alexander McQueen were talented and successful individuals. They owned the world. But they obviously didn't see any value in what they had. There was something inside where things seemed futile.

Now imagine the life of those who suffered in the death camps? They were imprisoned starved, tortured, humiliated, raped - their loved ones died in front of their eyes! Yet people struggled to live. In fact, after the camps were liberated, many survivors went on to have productive lives and some are still living!

You can't be rational about suicide. It's hard to reconcile. When someone is murdered, you can get angry at the killer. This happens with suicide, but you're mad at both the victim and the perpetrator! It's the ultimate act of self-destruction.

Alexander McQueen was an excellent artist and craftsman who left us so much. His work promises to have a lasting influence on fashion in the 21st Century. In a way he lives.

They're putting the sign back on Auschwitz that we may never forget the suffering inflicted by an evil ideology - we also remember the triumph of so many individuals who pushed on in the face of the horrible atrocities of the camps. Again, when somebody take their own life, it's hard to make sense of things. It's a cruel paradox - that notorious sign that reads, "Work Sets You Free".
https://web.archive.org/web/20100215175922/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/krist_novoselic_kurt_cobain_al.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:22 am

Adventures in Capitalism and Greed

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Feb. 18 2010


"The whole labor of the world lies at their mercy--and like fierce wolves they rend and destroy, like ravening vultures they devour and tear! The whole power of mankind belongs to them, forever and beyond recall--do what it can and strive as it will, humanity lives for them and dies for them. They own not only the labor of society, they have bought the governments, and everywhere they use their raped and stolen power to entrench themselves in their privileges, to dig wider and deeper the channels through which the river of profits flows to them." --The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Last weekend, for the first time, I finally watched Michael Moore's latest film Capitalism: A Love Story. Now to be fair, I watched this film on a plane that started its descent just as the film was getting to the poignant end--when we the people had finally spoken and elected Obama, therefore finally clamping down on the banking industry and all its villains and bad guys. Chuckle.

I'm sorry I'm so skeptical. It's just that in my view, and from what I've discovered avidly reading financial papers and textbooks, political office, lobbyists, Wall Street, and the banking industry are so interwoven and above reproach that unless Obama throws out Geithner and stages some sort of grand socialist /co-op work program on a national scale, we are just doomed to repeat the mistakes that led to our current crises. That is, if and when we get out of our current mess.

I read somewhere that as of late, banks were being called "casinos" because of the way they are gambling with people's money, but that would be unfair to casinos. Las Vegas must at least (by law) keep a specified amount IN RESERVE to cover their ass. The banking industry does not have the same regulation . . . you read me right.

Obama is not a dumb guy, and I hope he is right now studying flubs from the past to hopefully learn a thing or two about getting us all out of this crisis with the least amount of pain. I hope.

What has been happening to the global financial markets over the last 30 years or so is an almost conceited blindness to the failures of the past because of boom-time lust. What has happened recently in this credit crisis is not a product of failure. It is a product of success.

I believe Winston Churchill stated back in the late '40s that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." When General Eisenhower became president after the war, he instated a 90 percent tax against the richest of the rich here in the U.S.A. It paid for the war and built our interstate highway system, dams, and other massive infrastructure. In the 1950s, America was never so prosperous. Eisenhower was never questioned, because by God he won the fucking war! A 90 percent tax sounds a lot like what they do in Sweden and other "soft" socialist countries. [SO, IS THIS SOMETHING YOU'RE SUGGESTING WE SHOULD DO?]

Michael Moore points to a pretty poignant grand overview with his movie, though: The capitalist propaganda machine was cranked into high gear, selling it as being as American as apple pie. Maybe Obama can start cranking out propaganda that exhorts social programs and shared revenue. Are we ready to listen?

https://web.archive.org/web/20100226162605/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/adventures_in_capitalism_and_g.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:24 am

How a Recovering Addict Deals With Girl Scout Cookie Season

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Feb. 25 2010


Most of you must know at this point that I have two daughters, 9 and 12. My 9-year-old has been a Brownie and a Girl Scout for the past three years. It's a really sweet endeavor that gives her some life tools that as a father I wouldn't even know how to begin to approach. It is ALL good.

Ah, but once a year, it becomes time for the Girl Scout Cookie campaign, and my darling little girl has become a crack sales-person, especially when it comes to me and all my guy friends who come over for Sunday football. Little girls just have a way of making grown men melt and do whatever the pigtailed princess wants. My daughter does very well in her fundraising campaign as a result.

For me, I always end up buying around 10 boxes of each flavor, and these days I think there are nine different flavors. Let me back up a little bit and inform you about my strict diet program that started about a week after I got sober in 1994. A diet that helped clean out my system and that I have stayed on because, well, I've just GOT to hang on to my girlish figure, don't I?

In my drinking and drug-using days, health and nutrition were completely foreign topics to me, and I was lucky if I ate a hot dog or Fritos once every two or three days. My view from that deep, addicted hole did not allow for much thought on cholesterol levels or bad carbs vs. good carbs. Clean food and vitamins were for those who planned to live past age 30, and there was no way, I thought, that I would be in that category.

Yeah. But I got my wake-up call in 1994, and suddenly I realized that maybe I was going to be one of those few guys who were going to live (the list of those like me was becoming too rarefied at that juncture). I've written here before about bits and pieces of my recovery, but a huge part of it was my diet. After putting so many harmful things into my body for so long, I needed to purge my system and begin to learn the process of nutrition and fueling my blood, organs, and muscle tissue to help me regain my health and reverse some of the damage done. I was also about 50 pounds heavier that I am now, and the weight I was carrying was NOT muscle. All the sugar from the tons of alcohol had left me with a spare tire of fat and bloat. NOT sexy.

A friend of mine turned me on to a diet that was being used for people with cancer and other diseases, who were showing a marked improvement by adhering to it. It consisted of watery fruits in the morning, greens with fish for lunch (no snacking!), greens with fish or free-range chicken for early dinner (no late-night food!), and LOTS of exercise!

This taught me how to eat three meals a day, and it really started to make me feel better. I could actually feel the nutrients as they entered my blood system. With the exercise and no carbs, my weight just started to drop off, and I could see muscle tone returning. This was all a huge victory for me, and I started to feel GREAT all the time.

Flash forward a few years, and my wife and I have small kids at home. New foods start to pile up in our pantry. Potato chips. Cookies. Ice cream in the freezer, chocolate around Halloween and Christmas. When you quit alcohol, there is still a huge craving for all the sugar you've just cut out, and for me it's a constant battle. Plenty of times I have downed a whole family-sized Hershey's chocolate bar with almonds in less than 10 minutes, much as I used to down a gallon of vodka. I always feel like absolute shit after these episodes, so I really make an effort to just not have chocolate or cookies in the house. If my wife or kids have the stuff, I literally ask them to hide it from me and not even let me know about it at all. Oh, but I just ordered 90 boxes of Thin Mints and chocolate macaroon cookies from my sweet little daughter, didn't I? They arrived two days ago. Fuuuuuuck!

That first night, I ate two whole boxes. I felt like that guy with melted chocolate all over his face and hands, crying uncontrollably, watching a sappy soap while listening to Celine Dion. Yesterday, I gave the cookies away, sheepishly, to some friends. The things a father will do. The things my head will do to me in the throes of chocolate mania.

P.S. My daughter got her Girl Scout badge to go along with my badge of shame that must have been outwardly visible to those friends I gave the cookies to.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100301123930/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/02/how_a_recovering_addict_deals.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:27 am

Coming Full Circle in My Extra Innings

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 4 2010


Last Sunday, I was more than honored to be asked to take part in a show here in Seattle that benefited Haiti relief efforts--honored because of the sheer talent of the other performers that I would be playing a bunch of different songs with.

Where do I start? When Debra Heesh, Jeff Rouse, Mike, and his wife Ashley McCready first came up with the idea of doing a Hootenanny for Haiti, it was going to be loosely based on some acoustic jams that some of us had done together over the last year or so. On top of this, Deb organized a Patsy Cline tribute show at Columbia City Theater last year and enrolled the help of Kim Virant, Star Anna, and Kristen Ward to be Patsy for the occasion. Gary Westlake, brothers Rick and Chris Friel, Ty Bailey (my daughters' piano teacher!!), and Jeff Rouse were the band that night.

I have for the most part been out of town except for two of the hootenanny rehearsals, but I was kept in the loop as the talent pool started to grow outward from this core group. Matt Cameron came in for the cause. Star Anna's band from Ellensburg, too. Stone Gossard and then his old band Brad (Shawn Smith is the most mysterious and powerful male singer out of Seattle . . . period). Tim DeJulio, a local ringer guitar player, came in too. And last but certainly not least, Kim Warnick came out of retirement to sing Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and fucking killed it!

My new good buddy Mark Pickerel really surprised me with how good a singer he is. I hope people in Seattle realize just how blessed we are with the talent of the musician pool here . . . and the ease of these musicians playing together and appreciating each other. This just does not happen anywhere else.

I had never in all these years played with Matt Cameron or Stone or Shawn Smith. We have all been friends over the years, but more so because we have kids and we do the odd kid birthday together. I told Matt before the show that if I had any regrets at all in my life, it was that I was not more "present" when GN'R toured with Soundgarden back in the early '90s. I was just too fucked up. He told me a great story about when GN'R came to Seattle in 1985 to open for the Fastbacks at the Gorilla Gardens and afterward showed up at the Central Tavern where Soundgarden was playing one of their first-ever shows. Apparently we bum-rushed the stage and asked if we could play on their gear. They wisely said no. I vaguely remember this . . . but only vaguely.

Star Anna is someone who I've heard a lot, about but didn't have the chance to see until our rehearsal the night before the show. She is the real deal. There is a pain in her voice that comes from somewhere deep, a place I dare not ask where it comes from. She will be a talent that we can all say that "We saw her when . . . ". Guaranteed.

Two of my highlights were being able to play Mad Season's "River of Deceit" and Mother Love Bone's "Crown of Thorns." I was absolutely proud to be onstage with Matt, Mike, Stone, and Sean for these. I felt like maybe my life and musical career had come full circle and finally rested somewhere back home, here in Seattle, a place that I love.

I was talking to Mike the other morning and we were reminiscing a bit. We have known each other since we were in our teens. I was playing the "what if" game. What if I had stayed in Seattle during the '80s? Would I have been in Soundgarden, or maybe Mother Love Bone? Maybe. We decided to rest easy in the fact that we all took our own and distinct paths and had somehow come out OK and somewhat successful. For guys like Mike and I, to be here and vertical and breathing at all is a bonus. Some might say a miracle. These extra innings that I call my existence right now are fucking beautiful.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100308055346/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/03/coming_full_circle_in_my_extra.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:31 am

For Guns N' Roses, London Called Early

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 11 2010


I am in London this week looking at a bunch of unsigned bands for a new venture that I am part of. It is fresh and fun to see some of these bands: startled kids with huge and hopeful eyes that see a world that is theirs for the taking, energetic, unjaded, and full of piss and vinegar. I need to see this now and again to remind me what music should be all about. It also reminds me of the first time I came over here: It was with GN'R in July of '87, a few weeks before Appetite for Destruction came out.

The year before, we had put out the Live Like a Suicide EP. This fast and furious collection of songs sort of just died everywhere else in the world except for the UK. Unbeknownst to us, a cult following of fans was building over here who were chomping at the bit for any news on the band. When Kerrang magazine sent a photographer to Los Angeles to shoot us for the cover, we couldn't actually believe it. We had received press coverage in L.A. at this point, but KERRANG?! Are you kidding me?

After we finished Appetite and were waiting for its release and tour opportunities, we were approached to go to London and play the famous Marquee club. The only place I had been outside the U.S. was Vancouver, B.C., to play punk-rock shows with my various Seattle bands when I was a teenager. This was BIG! Huge! Magnificent!

I think it's assumed these days that GN'R kind of "broke" straight from the get-go after the release of AFD. Truth is, it took us nearly a year of straight touring before anyone paid attention to us in a significant manner--except for the UK.

An odd clash of circumstances occurred in Britain about a year before Live Like a Suicide came out. Back then and before the Internet, the youth over here would sort of latch on to one rock-and-roll band and identify it as their clarion light. That band was Hanoi Rocks, an amazing group of Finns who had relocated to England and were writing some of the best and dirtiest rock songs. When Hanoi finally came to tour America for the first time in 1985, their drummer Razzle died in a car crash while making a booze run with Vince Neil in L.A. I had just moved to Hollywood, and Slash and I had tickets to that Hanoi gig that never happened. It was an incredibly sad moment not only in rock and roll, but all the way around. Hanoi Rocks never quite recovered.

Flash forward to our gig in the UK, July 1987. After the first Marquee gig sold out in record time, they added a second date. That sold out just as fast, so they added a third. By the time we arrived here (we stayed at a rent-by-the-week apartment because it was much cheaper than a hotel), we were kind of like little mini-celebrities. There were times that people would stop us on the street and they actually knew who we were! It was quite weird, even on a small scale.

I learned to ride the tube [subway] everywhere, and it just seemed that there were great gigs every night we were there. Slash and I went out to a suburb one night to see the Replacements, and got so drunk that we lost track where we were. We caught a tube to somewhere that was not anywhere even close to our apartment in Kensington. We got into a drunken fight when we got to the end of the line, and realized that there were no more trains running and that we didn't have anything close to the amount of money to take a cab. Come to think of it, I doubt we even knew the address of where we were staying; we only knew how to get there from our local tube stop. To this day, I am not sure how we ever got back that night. Did we sleep in the train station? Ah, the luck and providence shown to the young and drunken and foolish!

But the real reason we were here, of course, was to fucking rock. I must say that back in that period of the band's career, nobody did it with more purpose, sneer, and reckless bad intent than us. This is not me bragging--it's just that we were hitting on all the right cylinders at the same time. When we walked to the Marquee on that first night, we were met by the crowd that was in line surrounding the block. We were absolutely fucking amazed that all these people came to see us. We hung out there in the street with them before and after those three gigs. We found that we had suddenly become "that" band that the youth of England had been looking for to fill the void left after Hanoi Rocks' tragic demise. Within four years, we would be headlining in stadiums here.

I am here now as a real grown-up, an adult doing very "adult-like" business and meeting with real-life businessmen. I am glad to be taken seriously in these meetings, and for certain feel that I have earned the right to be doing the things that I do outside of just playing music. Coming back to London, though, always puts a smile on my face. That first 10-day stay here as a young man will forever be a brilliant memory that will always keep me from becoming jaded.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100315115544/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/03/for_guns_n_roses_london_called_1.php
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:34 am

Happy Fishing, Slats, My Old Friend

By Duff McKagan
Fri., Mar. 19 2010


Slats and I did not have a boat. But he had a car.

On the southern border of the University of Washington campus lies its school of aquatic and fishery sciences and its salmon hatchery. Slats thought it a brilliant idea for us to hop the fence there with a bucket and simply scoop up salmon at will so we could clean 'em, freeze 'em, and eat salmon for weeks. Everything worked according to plan, and we had a bunch of flopping salmon in a big bucket when the floodlights went on and the night watchman came chasing after us.

I told Slats to just drop the bucket, but he was having none of it. He somehow scaled the fence with that damn thing. One of the funniest memories I will ever have is of him driving the car back to my apartment with his left hand and punching those flopping salmon in that bucket with his right. He had a running commentary with those fish all the way home, saying they almost got us into big trouble and now they would pay the ultimate price.

I have written before that I have borne witness too many times to the hopeful glint in a person's eye being whisked away by agents of vice. My time as a teenage musician in Seattle seemed to coincide exactly with an influx of wave upon wave of heroin to this port city.

The person who personifies this best to me is a young man, back in the '80s, with a hopeful glint and so much more. He was probably the funniest and most charming guy I'd ever met. Chris Harvey (aka Slats) died last Saturday of complications due to a broken hip. Unfortunately, drugs had claimed him long before, and held him. This is not meant to be a crude or heartless comment directed at a man who is no longer here to defend himself. I loved that guy like a brother once upon a time, back when the playing field of youth was even and green and soft and we were just opening our eyes to what was possible and available in life.

He was a guy who all the rest of us guys wanted to be like. He had the good looks and charm that all the girls fawned over. He never gloated or preened in his status as the coolest guy in the room, and that very thing made him seem even cooler.

I'm not sure how or when I initially met Slats, but it must have been some time in 1980, when we were both either in bands or trying to start one. After we met, though, we became fast and all-of-the-time friends. We started our first band, the Zipdads, together with Andy Freeze from the Vains and Scott Dittman from the Cheaters.

The Zipdads was really more a lifestyle than a musical statement. Sure, we played a bunch of shows here in Seattle and up in Vancouver, B.C., but it was the fun we had together that really set us apart and what other people and bands wanted to be a part of. Slats was always the instigator at the center of that fun.

His mom, too, was so supportive of her son, and would have us over for dinner at their place in Montlake. We would pick up his Gibson SG and Fender amp, and he would always speak highly of his mom even after we left the house. Most teenage boys would find SOMETHING to gripe on their parents about--but not Slats. I always admired that.

He always had the smoothest of smooth one-liners for girls wherever we went. I had no idea where he got his vast repertoire--maybe he just made that shit up on the spot--but girls fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Slats never was one of the most skilled guitar players, but he somehow crafted his own sound back in our day. When he formed the Silly Killers in 1982, his sound and sense of songwriting were really starting to take shape. Their 7" single, "Knife Manual," is a classic. I don't think it was too much longer before he started to dabble with heroin. He never found his musical form again, and that is sad.

I had seen him around at Loaded shows and elsewhere over the past 10 years, but always tried to avoid him because our paths had grown too far apart and I was frankly dubious and protective of my life, not being a good friend. To be honest, I don't know what we would then have had to talk about. But I could have tried. I should have tried.

I'm so sorry, Mrs. Harvey, from all of us, for the loss of your precious son.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:39 am

Yes, I Want to Be Cormac McCarthy When I Grow Up

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 25 2010


I am not the quickest reader in the world. Every night before bed is really the only part of the day when I have time for my nerdy passion--and so I usually only get in 10 or 15 pages before I nod off. Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song took a few months to knock out at my snail's pace. Oh well. The read is just as enjoyable, for sure.

For those of you who know me, you will know that I don't really rest. Even when I am sick, I am still on the go. It's just my nature. Last week, though, after I had arrived home from the UK, I was stricken and absolutely bedridden with bronchitis. REALLY sick. But I look on the bright side of my infirmity: I had lots of time to read. My second most favorite thing to do on this earth . . .

All that said, I think it's time I caught you all up with what has been on my reading list as of late. When I write on this topic, it always seems to get a good response and start stellar discourse.

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote: This book is my latest read. Reading Capote is like going to a movie; his visual descriptions of everything and every character almost pass you by because they are so good. Maybe this would have just been another American murder if not for this book. Would we have ever heard of the Clutters if Truman Capote hadn't become infatuated with this blaring contrast of good and evil on the Kansas plains and written this epic? Doubt it.

Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy: Here is a book you are either going to love or hate; it is just too brutal and demanding to really just give a ho-hum read. This story is dark and frightening and brilliant. Two thumbs up from me.

No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy: If it isn't obvious, I go on author kicks--if I like a particular author, I will read everything I can find by him or her. This book, like The Road, Children of God, and Blood Meridian, demands a lot from the reader. McCarthy's stories are not for the faint of heart. In my opinion, he is the best American fiction writer out there right now. I want to be Cormac McCarthy when I grow up.

The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien: I didn't read this book recently, but a few years back. Someone just asked recently if I'd read it, and the question reminded me just how good this book was. If there ever was an artist on the battlefield, entrenched with his pen and amazing mind, it would be O'Brien. This is not just a war book to any extent.

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair: I know a lot of you probably read this in high school or college or somewhere. The upside of having missed some school in my teens is that now I get to read all of what is or was probably already required reading for most of you. What a f*cking book! I heard somewhere that The Jungle was responsible for changing child-labor and health-code laws back then. A most brutal time in this country's history.

Lexicon Devil, Brendan Mullen: Being a big fan of the Germs may not necessarily be a prerequisite for reading this great rock-and-roll tale. Great? Well, not in the sense that it is a real "literary" piece of work, but great if you want to learn more about the L.A. punk scene in the late '70s.

On deck:

The Help, Kathryn Stockett: I have heard nothing but great things about this book.

Oil!, Upton Sinclair: Because I am on a Sinclair high right now.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:42 am

And, Yes, I Got a Book Deal

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Mar. 25 2010


I am not sure if any of you have heard the rumors about me getting a book deal. I just wanted to announce here first that it is in fact true. The reason for any announcement at all is twofold, actually:

1. Most important, I want to thank the readers of my column for really pushing me to write this book. Those constant suggestions and prodding really made me take a look at what I was saying, and indeed at how I was writing it. The Weekly staff have also been invaluable to me--certain editors here have made a big difference as far as what they expect from me. That too makes for a better product.

2. I want to also make clear that this book is not a GN'R "tell-all" or some other such "rock" book. There are a lot of those at this point. Sure, I will touch on all of that, as it is part of my story, but only just a part of it. Rather, it will be a story of an ordinary guy who met with extraordinary circumstances, and the circumnavigation through these situations. If you have been a reader of my column, then you get the general idea of my headspace. I WILL be writing this myself, thick or thin.

Touchstone, a division of Simon and Schuster, will publish my book in Fall 2011. Stacy Creamer, Touchstone VP and Publisher, will be my editor. I am excited that Tim Mohr, my old editor at Playboy, will be joining me too on this challenging venture and chapter of my life. Tim has edited the likes of Hunter S. Thompson. I look forward to him throwing out thousands of my words and telling me that I am full of shit on a daily basis!

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:45 am

Thinking About My Old, Creepy Friend Bari Reminds Me That I Used to Listen to a Lot of Bauhaus

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Mar. 29 2010


I have been writing out of public view writing lately about some stories from my past. A moment and figure that I had totally forgot about was my first roommate I had when I first moved to Hollywood in 1984. A fellow by the name of Bari Bari was the bass player for goth band Christian Death. The memory of Bari further reminded me of a band that I used to listen to all of the time: Bauhaus. Check these choice tracks:

"Bela Lugosi's Dead:" Probably their most 'popular' or infamous track. This is a great place to start if you want to broaden your Bauhaus horizon.

"Silent Hedges:" These guys were really ahead of their time as far as creating a sonic mood. This song is still quite listenable, even now that we are so used to modern technology in music.

"The Three Shadows (Parts 1,2, and 3):" Epic and classic Bauhaus. A more fashio-conscious Pink Floyd for a newer generation perhaps?

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:47 am

A Dork Among Hipsters

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 1 2010


This week I am down in L.A. My wife and kids are away for the first part of spring break while I had to stay back and put in some work. But this is all OK. Sometimes it is cool to be a lone wolf and a solo-riding bad-ass. The "hunter/gatherer" in us men at times needs to range free and howl at the moon. In my case, this is true--as long as I am home by 11:30 so I can call my wife before she goes to bed. And yes, uh . . . well, my dogs get lonely when I am gone too long . . .

I am not a guy who goes out a whole lot these days. When I am out on tour, I am basically at a gig every night. The last thing I want to do for the first couple of months after getting home is go out to another gig or show. Does that make sense?

By chance, though, two of my good friends were playing shows down here this week AND another friend was having a big birthday sort of bash. That meant I was going to go out three whole nights in a row. I didn't have to get up at 7 a.m. with my daughters, so what the hell?! I was IN!

I love to see good live music, and do what I can to support local and new bands. There were and are those who did and still do the same for me in my career, and I will never forget that. Some of you even read this column on a regular basis.

Some of you may know of Ryan "Go Time" Moore, Loaded's all-of-the-time drum tech and shot-caller (check out Go Time TV on YouTube to get a better sense of the genius that is Go Time). Ryan is a Portland dude, and has most recently been playing with the psychedelic, New Orleans-influenced MarchFourth Marching Band. They are on tour right now and played this past Sunday at a club, so I headed down. Sometimes when you go to see a friend's band, it can get a little uncomfortable if it maybe sucks or is otherwise not to your particular taste. I was, however (thankfully), completely blown away by this show. If anyone has a chance, definitely go see them in Seattle April 9 at Honk Fest West in Georgetown.

The following night, Monday, I went to see former Loudermilk and current Loaded drummer Isaac Carpenter's new band Sea Spin at the Silver Lake Lounge. For those of you who don't know, the Silver Lake section of L.A. is home to only the hippest and coolest of the cool. It seems that there is a conscious effort in that part of town to perhaps even shun a "rock" guy like myself. No worries--I had Go Time in tow, and we polished the tops of our shoes to get a better view of our eventual focus for later that night (get it? shoe-gaze?). Again, I was really quite pleasantly surprised. Sea Spin reminds me of early My Bloody Valentine with a somewhat current twist. Really good! As I left that night, I really felt like a cool and relevant hipster with his finger on the pulse of all that was Silver Lake. I even got a "dude nod" from some of the guys hanging out on the sidewalk as I walked out. I am fucking cool!!

Tuesday night I was invited to a friend's birthday party at the ultra-chic Les Deux in Hollywood. I was too afraid of blowing my cover to ask for the address, though. You're just sort of supposed to know where this place is. If you don't? Then don't even bother. But there I was, the guy calling 411 and asking for an address. I had to try about four different spellings before I got it right.

As I walked up to the doorman, my phone rang. It was my wife asking if I'd fed the dogs and if I was wearing a coat and if I was taking my vitamins and drinking enough water. She loves me. I had to, however, tell her that I had to get off the phone because I didn't want to look like THAT guy--you know the one, the douchebag on his phone going to the door of the cool club. I told her I loved her--in a hushed tone, of course. Yes, you ARE my monkey! Yes, dear, the girls ARE our monkey babies. Yes, babe, the dogs are our monkey grandchildren. "Yes, OK . . . I love you too!" It was time to go be a bad-ass in the mean streets of Hollywood. A master of all he surveys. A man among men. Actually, a dork among the hipsters. But that is indeed OK. My dogs are none the wiser.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:51 am

Duff McKagan: What to Listen For On Slash's Solo Record (Besides Me!)

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Apr. 5 2010


I am excited for my good buddy this week. Slash is putting out a new record that, if you saw things from where I am sitting, he has probably been working on in one form or another, since 1994. After the last Velvet Revolver record and tour, we were all pretty damned burnt out on that whole thing. Slash repaired himself in a studio in Hollywood and recorded some damn fine rock music. Here's a look at a few tracks of his self-titled record:

"Live By The Sword": This first single from Slash's record showcases the grandiosity that is too often these days, missing from rock songs. Andrew Stockdale kills it!

"Ghost": Great riffage featuring the guitar tandem of Slash and Izzy...which is always great to hear. Ian Astbury is the featured singer on this song and he is always great in my view.

"Watch This": Well, because me and Dave Grohl play on this instrumental, naturally!

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:54 am

Duff McKagan Addresses the Jane's Addiction Rumors, the Velvet Revolver Talk, and Those Missed Deadlines

By Chris Kornelis
Wednesday, Apr. 7 2010


Hey, Duff. What's up, man? Column was a half-day late this week? Look, I think it's cool that you've got a book deal, but now I hear that perhaps some extracurricular activities are getting in the way of you hitting deadlines. Am I right?

McKagan: Well, it's about time I hear SOMETHING from one of you people at the Weekly! Is this what it takes? I've got to be LATE on a piece?! I'm not sure if you guys were aware that I still play music . . . or if you knew I was ever a musician in the first place! Yes, I have been busy! Not only do I have a wife and two kids and two dumb dogs, but I have been busy writing music for Loaded, and I started a book. I've also been fielding more than a few phone calls and emails because of my new association with Janes Addiction.

What? Jane's Addiction? Hey, man, if you needed some extra cash, why didn't you just say so? We're Village Voice Media, baby! I can probably come up with a couple more bucks a week for you. Would $25 do it?

I think people sometimes actually believe that because I was in Guns N' Roses, I must have a money tree growing in my backyard! Daddy (that is what they call me around here) has got to go out and earn a living just like most anyone else!

Something like a chance to write, record, and perhaps even perform with a band of the quality of Jane's Addiction does not come around every day. I have a lot of respect for this band and the guys in it. The music that we have been writing is an extension of that mutual respect.

Does this mean you've moved a set of steel drums into your house?

Not yet.

Speaking of bands, you know I played in a band too. I Pity the Foo was the region's premiere Foo Fighters cover band, but I gave it up when I started missing deadlines. Have you considered tossing in the hat on Loaded? Or perhaps Velvet Revolver? I mean, Slash is pretty busy these days, too, right?

Loaded will ALWAYS be something I do. It is more a way of life and a way to express music and have a fucking blast with those guys than anything else. I'm sure we have hopes of one day having a song that gets a lot of play on the radio or something like that, but that is not what drives us.

Velvet Revolver had an amazing climb from absolutely nothing to something that people around the planet got into. That is also an amazing thing to observe from the inside. I won't be the guy to say it was anyone's fault that we came to an end with Scott Weiland; shit just happens. If you've been doing this as long as I have, you just learn to shut your mouth and fucking move on. Velvet is in a period of downtime right now, and perhaps we will one day get a new singer. For now, though, I have to look at opportunities when they are presented.

I have been a huge fan of [JA founding bassist] Eric Avery since the mid-'80s, when I would go to see them play at clubs down in L.A. This is not, in my mind, about me replacing him, in any way shape or form. I have a lot of respect for this band and the guys in it. The music that we have been writing is an extension of that mutual respect. AND it's a blast! Perry Farrell is an absolute visionary. Dave Navarro has always been a guitar player who I have had a lot of respect for. Playing in a rhythm section with Stephen Perkins is almost trancelike. Kick-ass for sure. I also want to make it clear to JA fans that I really appreciate all of the kind words and sentiment directed to me.

I put no blame on Slash for VR not just putting everything else to the side and looking for a singer after our parting with Scott. I know Slash very well, and also know that his new record is something that he has arguably been wanting to do since the early '90s. This record is on his own terms, with no band members to deal with. I get it. I think maybe we all needed a break after what went down with us.

I have never spoken or written about this, because things of this nature are just so often better left alone. With the sheer volume of calls and e-mails I have received in the past week regarding JA, I thought it best if I was completely open about all the factors that make up my career. We are all friends in VR, don't get me wrong, but with all the different issues that plagued us, we all just needed to do something else for a while, I suppose. As I said, though, I also cannot just wait around. Life is short, and I am going to make the most of it.

Oh, damn. Now I kind of feel like a dick. Hey, if this doesn't work out for you, I'm sure we could find a job for you in the circulation department. Those guys are cool as shit.

Hey, you never know, this could all change tomorrow.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:01 am

The Soul of a Man

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 15 2010


My wife and I watched a pay-per-view showing of the Robert De Niro movie Everybody's Fine the other night. It's a bittersweet portrayal of an aging widower's somewhat broken and fractured relationship with his four grown children. If you have a living father whom you maybe haven't called for a while, this movie would probably do the trick in prompting one to do it now, sooner rather than later.

I saw a feature on Headline News this morning about how the art of "manliness" is perhaps making somewhat of a comeback. Apparently the metrosexual phase in our society has given women a lower outlook on us men. They are thinking we are all just a bunch of wimps, fellas.

My relationship with my father was strained when Pop left us when I was about 7 or so. I was the last of eight kids, and the way I figured things as a boy was that I must have had something to do with it. That is what we do when we aren't old enough to see the bigger picture. The truth of the matter was that my parents' relationship was probably strained for years, and the perfect and idealistic stage in their marriage had probably ended sometime back in the 1940s. I didn't speak with my dad again, really, until I was about 14. Our relationship was on-again/off-again until my wife Susan and I started to have kids of our own. Susan pushed me to start calling my dad then, and I am glad of it. He died a couple of years back, and at least we had made our peace for the last few years of his life and had some good times and many laughs. He was a great grandpa to our girls.

I have the honorable duty now of being a strong male figure to my own daughters. In this life, we don't get to pick and choose what we are going to be like. As a dad, what I thought would be innate and common-sense stuff raising girls has turned into a daily learning process where I really have no idea what is in store for me next. I must be a "man's man" at times; at other moments, I must be sensitive and soft. I think that is the true essence of what being a man is. Well, at least that is what I have learned thus far.

I don't have this shit figured out at all yet, really. In my teens and 20s, I surmised that masculinity was gauged by how tough you were in a threatening situation. As I got deeper and deeper into martial arts in my 30s, I came to understand that a tough "front" was nothing more than fear masked by bravado. As guys, we are not really given the tools to deal with all this stuff. We just trudge through this life, and are lucky when some enlightenment comes our way.

My biggest challenge, and another massive feature that I see as part of true manliness, is being honest with myself and others and being forthright and true in my actions and dealings with my family, friends, and business associates. This is a huge deal. Do as you say. Say what you mean. Walk it like you talk it.

Do Robert Mitchum and Clint Eastwood toe as straight a line in real life as they do in their portrayals of the macho and rock-hard figures in their movies? Probably not. I am finding out just now in my 40s that the true measure of being a man is being a caring husband and father to girls, an ass-kicking rock guy, a scholarly reader, a fucking dork in the hipster club, and a top-notch crossworder.

But I still have to wait 'til after dark to walk our little pug dog.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:03 am

The Dickies: Still Kick-Ass

By Duff McKagan
Monday, Apr. 19 2010


I saw the movie Kick-Ass the other night. I really had no idea that it was going to be such a dark and almost edgy movie. I liked it a lot. The soundtrack, too, has its surprises, one of which was the "Banana Splits" theme song done by the great Dickies. I almost forgot about these guys. Check it:

"Banana Splits," The Dickies: As I mentioned above, The Dickies may have initially made their name by covering this song sometime in 1978. These guys had a mad sense of humor in an LA punk scene that was warily lacking the funny.

"Manny, Moe, and Jack," The Dickies: Coming from Seattle, I had no idea who Manny, Moe, and Jack were. When I came down to LA for the first time with the Fastbacks in '82, I immediately saw that these guys were the cartoon figureheads of a massive southern California auto parts chain. Of course! I thought to myself! "Manny, Moe, and Jack, they'll know what you're after!"

"Knight's In White Satin," The Dickies: When GNR opened for these guys in 1985, I remember moshing right up front for this song and "Solitary Confinement." The Dickies provided the soundtrack for much of my teenage fun!

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:52 am

If Only Rockwell Were Here to Paint This

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 22 2010


As a father of girls, I really have no idea what I am doing most of the time. I suppose I have this idealized Norman Rockwell-like picture of how it should all look in my mind's-eye. Ah, but things seldom happen according to plan when you have kids. My hopes of my girls being diehard Mariners fans or back-country hiking enthusiasts have long passed. No, they do things when THEY are ready for them, and I am slowly getting that this is the way it is. But I get pleasantly surprised all the time these days.

As I write this, my dog Buckley is doing his usual daytime thing--sleeping. This little dude snores SO loudly that it often breaks my concentration. Our house down here in L.A. is an old Spanish-style adobe home with 14-inch thick brick walls. As a result, the wi-fi for our laptops has a limited range, and we all have to sit in one particular room if we want to get online.

Yesterday, I had a very important Skype business conference call with some serious lawyers and financial types in London. I set myself up in our computer room for the pre-specified time for the call. My dog Buckley likes to be where I am, all the time. As my call progressed and the conversation got more detailed and serious, Buckley started to snore louder and louder. I think the sound of my voice makes him feel secure and comfortable. I try to turn him and whatnot to keep him from snoring too loudly, but it seems this only makes him sleep more soundly. At some point in my call, one of my UK colleagues stopped the conversation and asked what all the noise was. "It sounds like there is a big dog snoring." Uh, yeah, sorry. That is MY dog. He is not big at all. He is one foot long . . . but he has the "snore" of a Labrador. I had to excuse myself and pick this dog up and take him to my bedroom so that I could carry on my call unmolested.

So, back to my children and the point of things coming at me at unexpected times. My wife and I took the girls to see Taylor Swift last Friday. Before any of you chastise me for my taste in music or whatever, let me just tell you that I actually completely back my girls being into Taylor Swift. Raising kids in a semi-safe environment can be hard enough in itself--if my kids are into an artist with a sweet and innocent message, well, more power to it.

I have tried to teach my daughters the guitar over the years. It seems like the likely thing, right? I am a musician and my girls should take after their "old dad," right? Wrong! The reality is that they think I am kind of a dork, and that all the things I do are somewhat dorkish. Including playing in a rock band! OK, I get it. So my girls will never start a new Runaways or Girlschool. Fine. I let that dream fade a few years ago, and have accepted the fact that my girls have their own path. But wait . . .

The day after the Taylor Swift concert, my wife asked me if I could show her a few chords on the acoustic guitar. "Yeah. Sure." I muttered that I was a crappy teacher, but that I would do my best. To my surprise, my wife Susan locked right into it, and played the chords I showed her for the rest of the day.

The next morning, my daughter Grace asked me if I could show HER a few chords on the guitar, and if I could teach her a MGMT song. "Uh . . . SURE!" Grace and Susan ended up playing all that day. On both Monday and Tuesday, when Grace got home from school, she went straight to the guitar. Susan has stuck with it too. And last night, Mae, my youngest, came into the living room and asked if she too could learn a few chords . . . "I want to play with my sister," she said plainly. Really sweet stuff!

So there I was, sitting in our living room--where I have the Direct TV MLB package so that I can watch my Mariners when I am down here in L.A. The game is on. I am trying to watch what is happening because the M's are starting to get exciting. I have all three of my girls asking me guitar questions. They are all playing different chords at the same time. Buckley is snoring something fierce. Ken Griffey Jr. is at the plate, and we have a chance to go up by two in the eighth inning. Grace is asking me why I have "such an old guitar," and why don't I have something newer? (That acoustic is an old Sears-made "Buck Owens American" that I treasure and which is somewhat valuable.) I start to get flustered until I suddenly realize that, right here and right now, I have everything that I always wanted. A family that needs me. Kids who are excited about something I can actually help them with. Two dumb dogs who are finally semi-house trained . . . and my baseball team on the TV. If only Norman Rockwell were here to paint this scene right now . . .

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:54 am

If Women Are From Mars, I Better Learn to Speak Martian

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Apr. 29 2010


Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a sort of men-only seminar, where the sole topic was . . . WOMEN! I know that readers here have borne witness to some of my many stumbles as the only male in a house full of girls. But seriously, I can use all the help I can get. This seminar was geared toward understanding the messages and perceptions that men are always trying to decipher from their female counterparts.

My sensei, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, is a six-time world-champion kickboxer, and a legend in the martial-arts and boxing community around the globe. But it's what Benny has done out of the ring that has qualified him for this new role. Benny's been asked countless times to speak with women's groups--many times, groups for battered women. He is also the father of a girl, and has been married for 37 years. If you were to see Benny and his wife Sara in a grocery store or on the street somewhere, you would swear that they were a couple who had JUST fallen in love.

After years of learning from the women in classes and in his house, Benny decided he'd share a few of the lessons in the form of this seminar. Some of this may seem like low-hanging fruit, but seriously, every guy should have an afternoon dedicated to thinking seriously about this stuff. It will come in handy, and perhaps avoid a "misunderstanding" or two in the future.

At any rate, here are my thoughts on a few of the points Benny and the class went over:

No, We Can't Fix It

We fellas, in a general sense, have always been taught to show little or no emotion and fear. To add to this, our dads would often have us go fix something when we got into trouble. ("Go paint the fence!" or "Go wash the car!"). I have found myself all too often in a situation with my ladies where I want to "fix" a problem when perhaps all they really want from me is to listen. We fellas, though, will put in all the work to "fix" something, only to find our women even more upset. This leads to US getting mad because of the un-appreciated work we have just put in.

Yes, You're Pretty, But You're Also Smart

Too many girls, on the other hand--and this again a generalization--have been raised to sort of just shut up and look pretty; kind of seen but not heard. I'm not sure if this stuff stemmed from the Puritan backbone of this country, or if it goes back to caveman stuff, but by the time our ladies get up and out of their parents' house, they want to be heard. Understandable. This generalization is not meant from me to offend anyone reading this--this is just a basic and elementary overview for use in illustration here.

It's Not Supposed to Be Easy

By the time we heterosexual couples get together in our late teens or 20s, we have a LOT of cards stacked against us when it comes to communicating and understanding each other. Men want to feel appreciated and needed. Women want to feel safe and appreciated. But "safe" to a woman may not mean the same thing as it does to us dudes. Safe, for a woman, may simply mean having a man who will listen and not react when they need it. I don't know, really. Yet.

This first men's meeting with Benny and the brave gentlemen that showed up was an illuminating and useful first step for me. Indeed, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but what are you gonna do about it now?

For me, I am going through a very interesting phase with my oldest daughter, who is right at 13 years of age. I've been warned about this stage--you know the one--where daughters start very suddenly to depart emotionally from their fathers. I know it is just a phase, but there is indeed a profound sense of loss for me right now. As a guy, I want to "fix" the situation, but that only makes my daughter think I'm even dorkier and invariably less cool than I was yesterday. I must figure out a way to be at peace with the situation for now. I know for a fact that she means no harm and that she loves me.

I hope that more men's groups like this one my Sensei started begin to grow and flourish. A world with men who are at least making an effort to understand themselves and their women can be nothing but better, if you ask me.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:57 am

Read It Or Repeat It

By Duff McKagan
Thu., May 6 2010


The more books about history I read, the more I see history repeating itself. I have been reading fiction as of late, but it's when I read good historical nonfiction that I get completely lost in the story. Fact is, to me, always much more engrossing than fiction. The truly bizarre and heinous just can't be made up:

--Big lessons, like how "inside" Wall Street is, and how greed has made the common investor just a pawn in the game--starting about 125 YEARS ago (yes, it's not just a recent phenomenon).

--War and the displacement of indigenous peoples too. Just 40 years ago in Vietnam, by moving whole villages out of their ancient homelands, the invading U.S. Army bumbled and stumbled and created an enemy out of the friendly and, before then, helpful South Vietnamese. Heck, go back even further, and you'll see that Ho Chi Minh modeled his Declaration of Independence after ours, and that the U.S. backed Vietnam's struggle for independence in the late 1940s. How did we create such an ardent enemy within the following 20 years or so?

I received an e-mail from my best friend Andy yesterday. He and I are big "war buffs," and we sometimes trade tips on what books to read. He is an armchair historian like me. Neither of us are, however, military geniuses--just common, regular guys who try to figure stuff out as we go. Andy's e-mail was rather poignant and to-the-point, though. It DOES have something to do with books and reading too, so it should bring me back to my reading list:

"I did read Three Cups of Tea; it explains a lot about the area of North Pakistan. I've been looking into that area for the last year or so. Pakistan and the Afghan area is a really fucked-up place. If we spent half the money we spend to bomb the shit out of them, we could "win." It's a lesson we learned in Vietnam, but it looks like they (our "leaders") forgot. It's like when we moved all of those little tribes in the way-out areas to new "camps." If we could have just helped them to live a better life somehow, they would not have worked with the VC; but instead, we moved them from a place that they had lived for thousands of years. If we could just get those Wahidis out of there (Pakistan and Afghanistan), and build new schools that somehow taught them not to hate us and make a better life, they would and could thrive."

I'm not trying to get political here at all. It's just that with all the reading I do--and reading from all different viewpoints (not just an "Anglo" one), I just start to bang my head against a wall sometimes!

--Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin): I think I was first attracted to this book because I had heard it was a story of a K2 mountain-climber who had gotten lost on the hike out of that area. While, yes, this is indeed how the story got its start, Three Cups is a heartwarming story of humanity, ancient tribal ways, fundamental-religious rule, and perseverance in the mountains above Pakistan and Afghanistan. If you haven't read this book yet, put it on top of your list.

--The Forever War (Dexter Filkins): Yes, I think I have written about this book here before, but it seems to become everyone's favorite read after I suggest it to them. Iraq and Afghanistan are two big cluster-fucks that have put so many people's lives on the line. We should all be as well-informed as we can, I think, and The Forever War gives a view with some scope and honesty.

--The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien): This is an epic and poetic first-hand account of the brutality and humanity of the Vietnam War. If you were to read this book before Three Cups and The Forever War, you would surely scratch your head and wonder if our Western leaders can add two and two.

--The Moneychangers (Upton Sinclair): I'm not sure what the difference is between Goldman Sachs selling financial vehicles that are built to fail, and Sinclair's 1910 "Northern Mississippi Railroad" stock being sold to a public who had no idea of the bad intentions of its chairmen. In The Jungle, Sinclair did much to change child-labor laws and food-inspection laws; I wonder why Wall Street wasn't put on a tighter leash after it was exposed by Moneychangers? This 100-year-old book is suddenly very topical and relevant.

Again, I know I have previously covered a few of these books, but there are new readers here all the time, and these reads are just too important and good. Anyone want to chime in?

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:00 am

Just Like You, I Put My Custom-Tailored Jeans On One Leg at a Time

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May. 13 2010


If you've seen me at any rock shows over the past few years, you will notice that I wear the same jeans at every gig. As a matter of fact, I wear those pants everywhere: to the grocery store, on the plane, to the kids' school . . . and to weddings. I had them custom-made. Not because I'm the kind of guy who needs to be the only one on his block with his pair of jeans. For the life of me, I cannot find a pair of pants in the store that will fit. Trust me, I've tried.

I am somewhere in between average and big-and-tall, I suppose. Nothing at either store seems to fit. It makes me feel all alone sometimes when I go to a clothing store only to find nothing in my pant size. I mean, when was the last time you saw a pair of 32/36s hanging on the racks? This, my friends, is the problem with being tall.

I'm not sure what the average adult height is, but I am most positive that it is much shorter than my 6'3". Why am I so sure of this? Well, because for most of my life I have had to stoop to grab something off of a countertop, desktop, or grocery check-out counter. Things that are meant for an average height have been much too low for me for many years now. I must constantly strengthen my back and keep it limber.

Now I am not one to complain about my lot in life. I'm well aware that things could most certainly be a whole hell of a lot worse. I have all my arms and legs and fingers and toes. My intellect and sanity are mostly intact and in working order. I have two children, so obviously all that stuff works, too. No, I am not complaining. I just have a few items that I want to throw out there:

I'm not looking down on you, I swear. Eye contact is polite, and I am a firm believer in it. But over the years my neck has started to ache from looking down most of the time. My work predestines that I must stand most of the time and "rock out" with my other band members. Over the years, only Jeff Rouse and Mike Squires of LOADED have been near tall enough for me to look straight in the eye onstage. About 12 years ago, Mark Lanegan, Ben Sheppard, Mike Johnson, and I were going to form a band together for the simple fact that we were all tall. It sounds funny now, but we were serious about it then. If you are the only tall guy in a band, you run the risk of looking goofy if you're hunched over all the time.

I'm not trying to kick the back of your seat, I swear. I am THAT guy you will see on those Alaska Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Seattle. You know, the guy in seat 9C who looks miserable as they are serving snacks. Miserable because the tray is too low to lay out flat when it is fully pulled out of its vestibule! I am also that grumpy guy whose knees are completely bruised after the person in front of him decides to recline their seat. I always wonder what the guys in the NBA do when they fly? What does Krist Novoselic do? He is a good 4 inches taller than me!

I really am not a slouch. I know we have all seen those tall people out there whose postures have become perma-hunches (for some of the reasons that I have just named). So I have been faced with the quandary of standing tall without seeming like I am sticking out like a sore thumb. How do tall people keep their heads up when making conversation in public? How will I "bend at the knees" for all that I do now, when my legs get too weak in my 80s and 90s? I want to stand tall for sure, but I still want to fit in.

Officer, if you weren't a short unhappy fellow, you'd be speeding, too. My legs are fucking long, but my arms are not proportionate. I must play an ongoing game of seat and wheel adjustment so that my back doesn't get too sore from stooping forward so that my hands can rest at the 10 and 2 positions, or so my legs don't get too cramped when I bring the seat forward to save my back. If I had to be a truck driver for a living and do long hauls, I'd be a cripple in no time for sure.

I married up! My wife is 5'11" and our daughters are very tall for their ages. At least in my home, we can all fit in together. My wife modeled for a living for a long time, and it is only in that career (and some sports) that you can actually make a living because of your height. When she picked me up at Burbank Airport for our first blind date, it was marvelous to be able to look her in the eyes without craning my neck. It still is!

I'm not sure why we have such small dogs, though. That is a study for a whole other column. I'm going to take some Advil now ...

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:02 am

Learning the Old Jane's Addiction Jams

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May. 20 2010


Never before have I been in a situation where I had to play bass lines written by someone else for a whole set. It is a challenge for sure, and an eye-opening experience as far as pushing my style in a different direction.

On June 9 and 11, I will be playing two European shows with Jane's Addiction. These gigs come at a time when we have been writing new songs for a while, and it's a chance to get outside the studio and sort of shake off the dust. But first I had to learn some of their old catalogue.

In all the bands I've been in, we have always done covers of other artists. GNR did Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith. Neurotic Outsiders did "New Rose" by the Damned; VR did "Surrender" by Cheap Trick and "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. And Loaded has done everything from "TNT" by AC/DC to "Purple Rain" by Prince. But all these covers were played by bands I had already been playing with for some time. They were simply our interpretations of these songs . . . good or bad.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was in the Jane's rehearsal room going through a set of JA classics, I found myself feeling really uncomfortable and unsettled. I couldn't figure it out. Was my bass rig not sounding right? Could I not hear Steven Perkins' bass drum well enough? Was I playing in the right groove and at the right volume? These are not things one should be thinking while playing. You should be in the moment and let things flow. And suddenly it dawned on me: I was playing bass parts for a whole set of songs that were written by someone else WITH the band that had recorded them. Oh . . . this is new!

JA's founding bassist, Eric Avery, was always a guy whom I very much respected as a bass player. Back in the mid-'80s club days in L.A., I remember going to see JA just to watch Avery and Perkins. The way they interwove rhythm was ridiculous, and a bit groundbreaking. For some reason over the years, he and I never actually met. This added to his mystique for me. So now as I am playing some of those bass lines, I feel the pressure that I perceive is probably out there. You know: Everyone will be looking at ME to see how I play those beloved bass lines, an integral part of the JA sound.

Really good bass players are a very rare thing in rock music. James Jamerson and Donald "Duck" Dunn from the Motown and Stax Records days set a high-water mark that has only been just touched upon since then.

John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin borrowed heavily from those two, but then added a lot of his own mojo and passed it forward for anyone else to try and improve on. Eric Avery and Robert DeLeo (from Stone Temple Pilots) have probably been the closest as far as carrying on JPJ's lineage, and this is meant as a huge compliment.

Paul Simonon from the Clash set the tone for me, as far as modern-day bass players go. He has such a killer sense of pocket and style. Randy Rampage from DOA and Simonon were for sure the two bassists who I chose to follow and mimic when I decided to switch from guitar to the four-strings in 1984.

Some of the great bass players from the post-'70s punk and noise era introduced more of a mood, almost a sense of color, to stereos around the world. Raven from Killing Joke is a good example of where the actual playing is not the thing that gets you; it's the attitude in which it's played that makes you want to break shit.

Krist Novoselic is a monster player too. Guys who I know and play with realize what a huge part he had in Nirvana's makeup. Without Krist being the aggressive and melodic player that he is and was, those records would have been oh-so-much different. You can actually hear his style develop and mature from Bleach to Nevermind to In Utero. I like it when I can hear and recognize a player getting better. I feel like I am somehow a part of it.

OK. So here I am, playing older Jane's songs and trying to be true to those bass lines while trying to infuse some of my own thing (whatever THAT is!). We are writing new songs, and I can only hope to leave my mark somehow and not do any damage to this great legacy.

At the end of the day, I still love what I do and am lucky to make a living at a thing that is also my passion.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:06 am

Girls, Girls, Girls

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, May. 27 2010


​Last week, I had the pleasure of being home alone with my two daughters. My wife Susan, at long last, made the trip that her mom, aunt, sister, and herself were planning, down to Mexico. This left me some good quality time with my 9 and 12-year-old bundles of girly joy . . . and hormones.

At this point in my fatherdom, I certainly know where I can be of service to my girls. I also know it when I am completely lost and flummoxed by the quandaries that perplex only females. I am still under the assumption that a hike and maybe some "catch" with a baseball in the backyard can fix any and all problems with my girls.

Twelve-year-olds want nothing more than to be grown-up. Right now! Grace cannot wait to drive, and have an apartment and a job and be in college and not be walked to school in the morning by her mom and/or dad (how embarrassing!). When I tell Grace that she should sort of "enjoy youth" and not rush everything she does, she gives me a look like I am the oldest and nerdiest coot that ever walked the face of the earth. I don't feel like a coot. I guess maybe I DO look like a coot sometimes . . . but still, I am only just trying to pass on some shining pearls of wisdom.

Nine-year-olds who have older sisters want to be just exactly LIKE them, and this can often be a tough row to hoe. Mae is going to be a tough chick one day, as she now has to deal with a fair amount of rebuffment and push-back from her older sibling. This is part and parcel of being the youngest--I should know, as I was the youngest of eight kids.

I was really kind of excited for the girls' mom to be gone. I really thought that this would give me a chance to have some serious "Dad time" with my girls, and that they would somehow respond to my soothsayer-like genius in all things that deal with life in general. In my mind's eye, I would sort of be just waiting patiently--in my easy chair or cross-legged in a yoga position--as my girls clamored to be the first to spill all their life questions and problems to me. On Day 1 after school . . . they both went to their rooms with only a cursory "Hi, Dad." Day 2 was the same. Day 3, too.

That's OK. I know that the girls' school is finishing soon and that they have a lot of tests and such to study for. But a kid can't live on schoolbooks alone. I decided to take my daughters on a hike after school last Friday, and they were . . . delighted. Actually, they both groaned. "C'mon!", I said. I thought that surely a little fresh air and exercise would loosen their tongues, and that finally they could talk to me about life and ask for my insight and knowledge.

Sometimes I just have to put up the flag of surrender. I realize that--more often than not these days--I just don't understand girl stuff. I'm just absolutely lost sometimes. I have become enlightened to the fact that I must let the mini-dramas pass me by, not unlike letting the eye of a hurricane pass. In the past, I would meet these problems head-on and try to solve it all . . . or scold when certain behavior traits didn't seem right to me. While I am fair for sure, I AM still a disciplinarian of sorts. Actually, it is really my "dad- disappointment" that does the most toward any type of scolding. It is sweet, really, that my girls don't want to disappoint me. They seem to know it even before I am aware of it myself.

So here we go! Off on our hike on a fire road in a conservancy that is conveniently in my neighborhood down here in Los Angeles. But first I had to convince my girls to put on tennis shoes in place of their fancy sandals. They both gave me a look of "Oh, my God! What if a BOY sees us?!" As we were climbing the first hill, I noticed that Grace had her purse with her. As a male, I just don't get the reason why a young girl will have a purse. When I asked Grace why she had brought it along on a wooded and not-so-easy hike, she replied, "Lip gloss! Duh!!" Duh indeed. Sometimes I just got to keep my mouth shut and trudge on forward.

In the meantime, Buckley and I have a game to watch
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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:08 am

Summer Movie Rentals: War Is Hell

By Duff McKagan
Thu., Jun. 3 2010


I often give and get book suggestions here, but I'm not sure if I have yet to devote a whole piece to just movies. Last Monday was Memorial Day, and I got a good movie list by just looking at the GUIDE feature on my Direct TV menu.

When forced to rank my top all-time films, I always lean toward older movies, Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra movies especially. I am also a huge history geek, especially when it comes to war. War has always fascinated me. It's such a brutal thing. I do love a good war movie, and so goes this list.

Crossfire, starring Robert Mitchum: This movie is almost film noir, and serves the little-exposed subjects of anti-Semitism in America and the directionlessness of some of our servicemen after World War II. Made in 1947, it sort of flew in the face of the mostly uplifting film fare that was happening then. The director was probably a damn commie!

The Enemy Below, Robert Mitchum: WAY before Das Boot, this movie highlighted the claustrophobia of submarine warfare.

To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy: This film is excellent for the fact that it's about the most decorated U.S. soldier of WWII, STARRING the most decorated U.S. soldier of WWII as himself. Audie Murphy went on to a lot of Westerns after this, too. A real man's man, indeed!

The Big Red One, directed by Samuel Fuller: Fuller was known during the '50s for his subversive film subjects. The Big Red One, released in 1980, uses a tone of excellent imagery to show the brutality and senselessness of warfare.

Hamburger Hill, Don Cheadle: One of my brothers who was in Vietnam told me once that Hamburger Hill was the most realistic of all the 'Nam movies. Hamburger Hill shows a Marine unit fight and die and fight and die some more just to take a hill, a hill that they vacate after they capture it. Futile . . . pointless . . . dumb . . . ridiculous.

Where Eagles Dare, Clint Eastwood: Eastwood, Nazis, and stolen gold. Need I say more!?

Kelly's Heroes, Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles: If you have to ask, then you are lame.

Wake Island (1942): This film is extraordinary in that filming started just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it serves as the very first of countless movies that would follow about WWII.

Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks: Probably the most vivid gore-showing and nerve-shattering flick about WWII. Tom Hanks is awesome.

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:10 am

On the Road With Jane's Addiction, Reminded of Some of Mankind's Troubling Detours

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 10 2010


I've been on a brief two-show European run with Jane's Addiction that started with a gig in Amsterdam. It certainly is interesting, the things that life will throw your way. If you had told me six months ago that I'd be playing with JA, you would have certainly received a sideways look back from me.

I have been extremely blessed as far as how long my career in music has lasted; this shit just isn't the norm. I love music, though, and my passion for what I do has yet to wane. As a matter of fact, my lust for this thing I do has grown.

The guys in Jane's are really great too. Stephen Perkins has a huge heart. Perry is a true "artist" and an original with no equal in his form. Dave Navarro is a virtuoso. Me? I just hope that I don't fuck up! That part in the song "Stop" where it's just bass chords and Perry's vocal has got me a bit wigged out. I just keep saying to myself, "Don't fuck it up, Duff." Those words have become my silent and constant mantra, as it were.

Jeff Rouse (bassist in Loaded) is out here with me as my bass tech. Luckily for me, he could do these shows. If nothing else, knowing that he is there on stage left will keep me from getting too inside of my head. Jeff and I have traveled the world together in Loaded, and share the same insane sense of dumb humor ("What do you call a donkey with three legs? A wonkey!").

When we got to town, Jeff and I went out on the streets of Amsterdam with his little Flip video recorder to make a new "Loaded/Jane's Addiction version" webisode. We of course drank too much coffee and tried to make a semblance of cohesive conversation with wary tourists. I get why people are scared of us--two tall tattooed guys with a camera, jabbering and asking questions like idiots. In our eyes, we are just being friendly and curious. To them, I am sure we appear as some sort of grievous threat.

Our hotel happens to be right next door to the Anne Frank house, a sobering thing for sure. Anne was the age of my own daughter, Grace, when she wrote her heartbreaking, brave, and hopeful diary as the Nazis closed in on her hideout some 65 years ago. That is not that long ago, is it? I am glad all that shit is over with . . . or is it? Back in my hotel room, the first story that came on BBC was of a growing and very visible Nazi party in Lithuania. Really?!!

While I was waiting in the lobby the other day, a very nice gentleman who works at the hotel approached me. He asked how I was enjoying my stay in Amsterdam. I assured him that things were as great as ever. I have been to this city probably a dozen times and have always enjoyed the liberalness and feeling of safety, not to mention the beauty of the architecture and the quaintness of the many canals and the bicycle traffic constantly whizzing past. My new friend's name is Landers.

Landers and I got into a lengthy conversation about society and government (it's not uncommon here to have detailed conversations with strangers). Now we all know that pot and prostitution are legal here . . . and taxed. AIDS and teenage pregnancy are also extremely low because of the amount of sex education in the schools here. Gay marriage is legal. Euthanasia is also legal to those too sick to go on in dignity or in too much pain. All of these things make so much plain and logical sense to me.

I've heard about the hilarious notion of a new country being formed whose southern border would be San Francisco and northern border Vancouver B.C. (I think the name bandied about is something like Cascadia). I'm sure the laws in this new Eden would mirror Holland's, and our natural and tech resources would be huge. Can you imagine that?

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:14 am

The Jane's Addiction Ride Continues: Two More Live Shows and Maybe a Few New Recordings

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 17 2010


Man! Am I ever lucky to be doing what I do! My tenure in Jane's Addiction recently took me to Europe for two shows with Rage Against the Machine in Arnhem, Holland, and Madrid, Spain. This was to be a real trial by fire for me with JA. Don't for a second think that I wasn't a little scared.

I generally have confidence in myself. Confidence to me doesn't mean anything else other than self-assurance. You have to be a little bit cocky to go onstage in front of a lot of screaming motherfuckers. I do put in the work, though, to at last gain the confidence . . . sort of like studying hard and being ready for a tough exam at school, or reading What to Expect When You're Expecting right before having a baby. Still, you can be as prepared as possible, but still experience many and varied outliers that no amount of preparation can steel you for.

As the house lights went out before we took the stage on that first show, my heart started to speed up and my breathing became shallow and hurried. I couldn't think straight and my hands we shaking just a bit. I've experienced this before, and because of my lifelong affliction with panic disorder, I know now that when my "fight or flight" mechanisms shift into high gear, at least I am not going to die. But I was freaked the FUCK out.

A couple of the guys from RATM came to my side of the stage just then and gave me big smiles. I do believe that they too wanted to see what Jane's would sound like with me playing bass. These guys somehow gave me a sudden boost of confidence, and I was back to my normal self and breathing easy.

Arnhem is right on the German border, and from my past experience with German rock fans, they like their rock hard and heavy without frills or decoration. They loved GN'R. Velvet Revolver, on the other hand, never quite took hold there. Actually, I have never quite figured out what the German audience is into. A few years ago, VR played a huge hard-rock festival there with Slipknot and Korn, and believe it or not, Good Charlotte was the headliner. They fucking LOVE Good Charlotte, for whatever reason. The first JA show there last week was met with a sort of lukewarmish politeness with many quizzical stares--like they had no idea who we were. You can't win them all.

On to Madrid and the Rock in Rio festival. RIR stopped being held in Rio some five or six years ago, and instead goes now to either Portugal or Spain (whichever promoter can offer the most money to the folks who own the RIR rights). I had a feeling about this show, a premonition of sorts. Jeff Rouse from Loaded was out on these gigs with me, and he seemed to sense it too. This show would be different. This show would be good for JA.

Maybe it was the downing of a full Red Bull before I hit the stage (something I didn't do in Holland), but the roar of the huge crowd was deafening and glorious. We chose "Requiem" by Killing Joke as the intro music, and our sound guy just absolutely cranked it. If you know this song, then perhaps you can imagine the chills that were running down my spine (or was that the Red Bull rush? Truth be told, I drank TWO). The stage deck was massive and multi-tiered. Before I knew what was happening, I had run the 50-yard length of that stage several times back and forth, and we were only a few bars into the opening "Mountain Song."

Perry Farrell was in top form, conjuring his voodoo weirdness and owning the stage. He is a fucking true original, and many frontmen who came after him simply aped his thing. Dave Navarro is really a virtuoso, gifted with an enormous and effortless talent (fucker!). Stephen Perkins has the oddest style that has always seemed tailor-made for JA, and in my opinion, the band gained their sense of rhythmic trance because of him; no other drummer could have brought what he did (and still brings).

Sen Dog and B-Real from Cypress Hill were on my side of the stage. Either they really liked the band that night--or they were just insanely high on the high-test weed they had been hitting all day--but they both seemed caught up in the whole majesty of the JA thing. It was just as fun for me to watch Perry as the dudes from Cypress, OR the crowd!

These are the gigs that as a performer keep you coming back and trying harder to be good at your craft. Yes, my life kicks ass. We just recorded an undisclosed number of new Jane's Addiction songs that are really fucking good and hark back to some of the old magic. (Editor's note: These songs may or may not have names yet. But that's a good question.) I will be making a new record with the ever-genius Loaded this summer, too . . . it looks like my dance-card will be full to the brim this year. Bring it!!!

https://web.archive.org/web/20100619085554/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/06/the_janes_addiction_ride_conti.php

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Post by Blackstar Sat Jul 10, 2021 4:20 am

Wacky Seattle: The Solstice Parade and Lessons Learned in Our Socially Outward City

By Duff McKagan
Thursday, Jun. 24 2010


This town of ours is really quite an independent and almost sovereign-seeming mini-Gotham if you see it like I do. I reside in the Northwest but have spent the lion's share of my life traveling. I have also spent much of that time working out of Los Angeles. My point is, I get to witness Seattle and this region in fits and starts - always relishing my time here because it is often short.

When I come home, it is always with my wife and two daughters. My wife starts going on the computer weeks before our trips and always finds really cool stuff to do. Parades, rodeos, hikes, festivals, music events, horseback riding, camping trips, cooking classes, and whatever else. If we actually DID all of the things that she plans, however, the McKagan family would just be a blur of movement. Her "activity eyes" are really big! She has a damn filing cabinet just for this stuff!

But her heart is huge and just wants us to enjoy and experience great things together... to have shared memories of a kick-ass life. In fact, the wife and I just got off the ol' Columbia River on a paddle boat...not a big Mississippi River-style paddle boat, no, the kind with the peddles. I guess it's called a peddle boat? Sorry, I digress.

As we all know, it has been unseasonably rainy and cold in Seattle lately. The weather doesn't, however, seem to have any effect on summertime plans up here. Case in point: the Fremont Solstice Parade last Saturday. For those of you who want a real taste of liberal Seattle, then this is the event for you. This is the second time I have gone with my family. It really isn't the typical parade and only adheres to what we know as a parade in that there IS a parade "route."

The Solstice Parade always starts with a few hundred naked bike riders (of course!). The rest of the parade is a mish-mash of gay and lesbian drill teams, trash-bag drill teams, paraders dressed as trees wanting hugs, paraders dressed as pot leaves, and punk-rockish marching bands. A lot of it may appear completely random, and it is. We saw a man and a women pushing their child in a bathtub with bike wheels. Now THAT was random! But the general mood and point of the parade is a sort of clean environment, be who you wanna be, legalize pot thing. There are tons of cops there - and there are also tons of people smoking weed and walking around naked. It's the one time that you can do anything you want (without violence) in front of the police without getting arrested, I guess.

People are seriously socially outward up in these parts too, which I completely dig and am wholly into. I am a talker and am naturally curious about others. Some would say that is mostly because I am from a big family and that all of my siblings and myself were forced by sheer numbers to socialize. I would argue that it is because I am from Seattle. In the last 6 days in Seattle, I have learned more from strangers on the street about themselves than I have learned about my next-door neighbors in Los Angeles in the last 5 years.

I found out from a fella that gout is from eating too-rich foods and that black cherry juice will help the affliction.

I found out exactly when and in what weather to best fish for rainbow trout in the Alpine Lakes region of the north Cascades.

I learned where Mariners pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith's parents live in Australia. And where HE lives in Seattle. (I sat next to his parents at a game on Friday. While yes, they are not from Seattle, they ARE from Australia, probably the friendliest place on earth next to Seattle. I told them not to tell anyone else where their son lives though!).

I discovered that a guy in Fremont went to jail for pot possession for 4 years. He told me he has never harmed a soul nor even sold weed.

I also found out that a guy wearing a suit of dirty plastic grocery bags, yelling "Don't use me! I can't recycle!" has more of a positive effect on my daughters, as far as the environment goes, than anything that they have learned thus far in school.

If you have nothing to do this Friday, check out 'Wine, Women, and Song' at the Palace Ballroom. It's a gig celebrating and featuring Seattle-area chicks who rock (Star Anna and Kim Virant anyone?), and Northwest women wine-makers. It is another great Deborah Heesch production (she has done both of the Patsy Cline things over the last year, AND the Hootenanny for Haiti at the Showbox). It is sure to be a class act.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100626123634/http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/06/duff_mckagan_thursday_june_24.php
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